Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 17, 2017, 04:13:13 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Search:     Advanced search
Donate! | Subscribe! | Shop: Amazon

***DONATION DRIVE 2 HAS BEGUN:
CLICK HERE TO BURN MONEY***
*
Home Help Search Login Register
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  PC/Console Gaming  |  MechWarrior Online  |  Topic: "State of the Inner Sphere" update by Russ Bullock (December 2013) 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: "State of the Inner Sphere" update by Russ Bullock (December 2013)  (Read 3136 times)
Falconeer
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10133

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


WWW
on: December 17, 2013, 02:03:21 AM

State of the Inner Sphere update by PGI President Russ Bullock.

Looks like he finally decided to try and explain who is working at PGI, how many, what the hell did they do which is something everyone has been wondering for some time now.

In short:

- MechWarrior license renewed until 2018 (previously 2015), deal with Microsoft. This happened in November, so it could explain why things were slowing down around that date and why they had to launch in September no matter what.
- About 45 people work full time at PGI.
- Of which, 20 people are constantly working on content, which means maps and 'mechs, skins, cockpit items.
- 7 work in production, community management, internal QA.
- 18 Engineers work on development of features and technologies, and live operation. Apparently their developing time is screwed by having to deal with operating and mainteining the live servers.
- On January 21st they will release the "Cockpit glass", which means that stuff will happen to your screen based on damage, temperature, weather, etc.
- On February 4th they will release UI 2.0.. Also "tier 1 weapon modules", which aren't explained yet, and changes to the assault mode, with the addition of defensive turrets at the capture point.
- On March 4th they will release the DX11 client.
- On March 18th they will release the Achievements system.
- On April 15th they will release the "Launch module" (pre game screen to form groups and other stuff explained before).
- On June 17th the Clans will hit.
- Community Warfare comes "bits by bits" over all those updates, and it is supposedly tracked by this weird page.
- Tentative dates are: Merc Corps and Player Associations by July/August. Planetary Conquest by September/October. It could easily slip to mid Fall next year though (which is 11 months from now).

I think it all really boils down to "Community Warfare is a year away, oops".


Quote
2013 State of the Inner Sphere

The year 2013 has been a year of peaks and valleys as it pertains to MWO and PGI as a whole. Some of the peaks were the development and release of 12v12 which completely changed the feel of MWO and took the action to a completely new level. Other peaks were improvements to HSR, pregame and end of round screen improvements, our first tutorial implementation and even hotly contested features such as Heat Scale and 3rd Person camera when all combined showed a huge increases in player retention and conversion – were talking entire magnitudes of improvement. Culminating of course in an absolutely awesome launch event in San Francisco, in September.

When discussing valley’s it really outlines the incredible challenge it is in gaming and in particular with MechWarrior to satisfy your core customers while also trying to build a game that can grow beyond that core audience to create new players. Some of those same features are undesired by the core audience who see them as counter to what they want implemented into the game. Our biggest challenge there has been in explaining that many features and content are delivered by completely different members of the team then would work on for instance UI 2.0 and usually does not signify in any way a lack of focus or delay on major feature development.

In today’s 2013 summary I plan to provide more insight into staffing at Piranha, their various skill sets, the features they focus on, along with a feature road map that players can expect in the first half of 2014.

Commitment to the MechWarrior brand

There has been some circulating speculation on PGI’s commitment to the MechWarrior brand and whether we really plan to create large features like Community Warfare or if were just getting as much money out as possible while we can. That’s a tough thing to hear when you are as deep in love and committed as we have been to the game. We completely understand where the question comes from; almost 100% from not seeing large features like UI 2.0 and CW live yet.

As to commitment to the brand I have some news to share with the community that honestly we hadn’t decided yet on how or when we were going to announce it, so let me share it with you here now. On Nov 8th 2013 PGI and Microsoft finalized negotiations on an extension to PGI’s MechWarrior license. Whereas before our license ran out mid 2015 we are now ensured rights until mid-2018 and also if certain criteria is met will have until mid-2020 to continue to develop MechWarrior products including MWO. Needless to say this was something I had been working on for a very long time, Microsoft is very happy about how the MechWarrior brand is being re-invigorated with the new art work and gameplay advances. This extended license deal gives PGI many of the assurances we were looking for to justify continuing to spend large amounts of development funds on the game, we know we now have the runway to make the investment logical.

Feature Delivery

I think everyone’s mind logically shifts at this point to “Okay what is the clear and honest update on the state of development and expected delivery of major features such as UI 2.0 and Community Warfare.”

First let’s discuss staffing and give you a little more insight into the effort going into MWO each and every month. This past year Piranha has averaged mid 50’s in employees with 45 full time developers that spend their entire day working on MWO content and features.

Development team:

-    There is around 20 total staff working on content from maps, to `Mechs including hero, champion as well as skins and cockpit items. Remember all these staff do not contribute to features like CW and UI 2.0 they also do not drain away from those efforts
-    7 staff under production, developer support (internal QA), marketing and community management.
-    This leaves 18 staff, all engineers to work on both live ops and feature development. And right there lies the key, if these 18 engineers could focus solely on feature development things would move much faster but these people have to also manage the live ops so there is always a constant stream of work involved to keep the game running smoothly, rollout patches, update the Patcher/Launcher, database management and other MWO tools. So the end result is you are only getting a fluctuating amount of full time effort from some portion of those 18 engineers to make the forward progress.

With that extra exposure into the staffing actively working on MWO lets now discuss our current rollout plans for features on MWO.

The plan for patches every two weeks is not going to change but I am not going to list off every patch below only the estimated patch where we expect a major feature to be released.

Final comment on staffing: People have noticed that we have been hiring lately and have speculated that perhaps were replacing people that are leaving Piranha. This is not the case at all; in fact we have not lost more than 1-2 staff to other opportunities in the past year which represents an extremely low amount of turnover compared to industry standards. It’s a very simple explanation that PGI is growing to accommodate more development capacity and nothing more.

Roadmap

Dec 17th – This patch you’re quite familiar with but it’s a pretty good one and the best in a while. New Skirmish game mode, release of Sabre `Mechs and the release of the Moon map HPG Manifold. I hope this will give players some interest during the holiday break.

Jan 21st – Cockpit Glass.

Feb 4th – UI 2.0 released. It will be a complete rework of the existing UI along with some new screens with the store and some others. A lot of feedback has been implemented to improve MechLab and future releases will include a lot of user feedback integration. Overall UI 2.0 on February 4th is an absolutely MASSIVE feature release, bigger than anything to date. I don’t say that purely based on functionality that UI 2.0 will introduce to MWO. The reason it is considered in my mind the biggest feature release to date is because of the bottlenecks it removes. Everything relied on its release and back end architecture to build off of.

Feb 4th – Tier 1 weapon modules – Further explanation forthcoming in a Command Chair post later this week.

Feb 4th – Assault mode refresh/improvements – Includes new Base model to replace the resource collector for a Forward Operating Base truck with the additions of turrets. Helps differentiate it from other modes like Conquest.

March 4th – DX11 – it has been complete essentially since the last Public test but we have waited to get the Christmas break and UI 2.0 behind us before releasing. Some further exploration into FPS concerns before release. It is possible upon release some will use DX 11 where others will stick with DX9 for frame rate concerns while we continue to optimize it.

March 18th – Achievement System.

April 1-April 15th – Launch Module – in depth description already in a command chair post.

June 17th – Clan Invasion.

First off the list above again does not even come close to discussing all of the content and features that will be released between now and the Clan injection June 17th 2014 but I think it mentions all of the features that you really care about. Next you can see that Feb 4th has a significant amount of content and you can begin to see how items were piling up behind UI 2.0 and will start to flood out at a much faster pace.

Next we should discuss a refresher on what Community Warfare really means, it has evolved to mean a lot of things, but for most it boils down into being able to compete directly with other units for possession of territory. This roadmap just shared with you does incorporate a significant amount of Community Warfare functionality in systems like UI 2.0, achievements, and the launch module. This will allow players to have any size groups 2-12 which are completely balanced via weight tonnage limits; including clan mechs balanced via both weapon design and tonnage restrictions. Players will also have the lobby like system and of course private matches allowing the first major layer of Community Warfare and competitive play. For many merc units out there in MWO land this is significant news that by the month of April they will be able to have competitive play with other merc units. We have prepared a new web tracker for Community Warfare here – www.mwomercs.com/theplan. You can see the approximate completion level of each of the major features within. More features may be added over time as we discover additional content needs.

The only items really remaining from the Community Warfare pillar are two items, although pretty big ones. They are what we can call “Association” which is further connecting factions and the idea of Loyalty points and “Inner Sphere Planetary Conquest” which of course is competing over territory. I have not listed off dates for these systems because we don’t have as precise of estimates quite yet. But we can for the first time based on the January-April development schedule provide a more accurate estimation then we have in the past. Below are some conservative estimates of the remaining Community Warfare features that I think we can probably beat.

Conservative Estimates:
-    Association: July-Aug
-    Planetary Conquest: Sept-Oct

Confidence is very high that worst case scenario is the completion of the entire Community Warfare feature set as we currently understand it by Early to Mid-fall.

I imagine of course this is not all great news, ideally you want these features, all of them, much sooner. The difference is, this time they are based upon the UI 2.0 bottleneck which was responsible for at least 80% of all schedule slips in 2013 being removed by Feb 4th.
Of course you may very well still be in a position where you don’t believe the estimates or are unwilling to believe until some more of these dates are achieved and you have the features in your hands. That is completely fair and at Piranha we are just going to be focused on delivering and earning your patronage back into MWO as soon as possible.

Clan Packages

A few quick points on the clan packages in regards to content and pricing concerns people have been voicing. First we need to remind everyone that MWO is committed to never being a P2W product and this new clan program does not violate that commitment. Everyone of course will be able to purchase each of these `Mechs for in game currency of C-Bills making them of Free to all who have put in the play time to earn the in-game currency. Love the Mad Cat and don’t want to spend a single penny?, no problem you can of course do that in MWO. As to the exact timing of the C-Bill versions post June 17th I do not have those answer yet although I am sure they are forthcoming soon.

Next on the subject of the Gold `Mechs, obviously they have caused a fair bit of a stir. These are for the hard core collector who wants something that will live on forever as being extremely rare. It’s purely a collector’s item and we are certainly not the first game to try something like this. If the idea seems ridiculous to you, essentially you can ignore them entirely, they will have no bearing on gameplay, other than be extremely cool. In the world of free-to-play, the people who spend more are picking up the tab for those who spend nothing. Their contribution should be appreciated by the other players, rather than invoke friendly fire as some people have suggested. They really should not offend you the world is full of avid collectors, everyone reading this knows somebody with a $20,000 collection of Magic the gathering cards and single cards worth huge amounts.

As to the general pricing of the Clan packages I think we tried pretty hard to make these packages of very similar value to both the founders and Phoenix packages. In particular I think the Phoenix packages were perceived to be of high value and if we compare directly to them the summary would look something like this:

Let’s assume the extra rewards like premium time equal each other out although Bryan Ekman mentioned that there are aspects of the rewards for Clans that are not defined yet like the group benefits that might boost the value of the Clan packages further. However if we assume the extra rewards are equivalent to the Phoenix packages it really comes down to the `Mechs. In each case you get the two free variants to go along with the Prime variants making an overlord package $80 or $20 per prime variant. With the Clan packages you are paying what equates to $30 per prime variant. But remember our pricing of MC in MWO has a relationship between MC and CB costs. Clan Technology is significantly more expensive, and is reflected in the package pricing. I think though that less people are concerned about the per `Mech math and see the logic involved, but are more concerned about the lack of a la cart options or more ways to pick and choose the money you wish to spend. This is something that were currently investigating, no promises at this point on what if any changes we will be making but I can tell you we will be listening to all polite feedback for creative ideas for changes to the package structure.

I hope this information helps everyone in one way or another. If I want you to take anything away from this email it would be that if we reflect we realize that a hell of a lot of good things also happened in 2013 for MWO and MechWarrior is truly back and growing day by day. Also Piranha is every bit as committed to MWO today as we were 2 years ago. Bright days are just ahead of us and Feb-April is going to see a massive amount of content released and you will really feel the momentum leading into summer and early fall for the completion of all known major MWO features. I hope we can have another party in the fall of 2014 and call it a re-launch or perhaps the launch of MWO 2.0 and see you all there.

Happy Holidays

Russ Bullock
President, Piranha Games Inc.

Falconeer
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10133

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


WWW
Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 02:09:52 AM

I fucking can't believe Community Warfare is 1 more year away. EVENTUALLY. If we are lucky. I haven't seen this much incompetece... ever I guess.

Falconeer
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10133

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


WWW
Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 02:12:02 AM

This is from their official page "The Plan", the state of completion of Community Warfare today, December 17th 2013.
It blows my mind.


Ironwood
Terracotta Army
Posts: 26746


Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 03:23:57 AM

I think it's time to accept that Community Warfare will always be a year away.

At this stage, you'd do better with a copy of Netmech and an Excel Spreadsheet with the names of planets on them.

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
satael
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2282


Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 03:32:13 AM

So the DX11 is still almost 3 months away (if they manage to stick to the schedule). For some reason I was expecting it to be added this fall (since the testing started late summer already) or January at the latest but I guess I was totally wrong.  Ohhhhh, I see.
Fordel
Terracotta Army
Posts: 8299


Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 03:34:25 AM

I think it's time to accept that Community Warfare will always be a year away.

At this stage, you'd do better with a copy of Netmech and an Excel Spreadsheet with the names of planets on them.



Hey, some of those spreadsheets were super fancy! Income/Resources/Production per planet all automagically handled!

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
Falconeer
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10133

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


WWW
Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 03:37:45 AM

I think it's time to accept that Community Warfare will always be a year away.

This is not true, in the Official Developer Update from 1 year and a half ago (June 2012) Community Warfare was pretty much "90 days away".

Quote
Community Warfare will be added, with the core of the community experience projected to be in-game within 90 days of open beta.

...

the Open Beta date (which cannot yet be announced other than Summer 2012)

Falconeer
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10133

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


WWW
Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 04:44:55 AM

So they are basically between 530 and 660 days late on their own quoted official statement from June 2012. And this is assuming they will actually deliver CW between August and November 2014, which is unlikely given their pedigree.

Have you ever heard of such bullshit in a published product (so no Duke Nukem or Horizons) that earns money daily?

Sir T
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10739


Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 05:25:36 AM

So, I see that they have 45 'developers' split along these lines:
Content - 20 - 44.4% (maps, mechs, and cockpit items)
Quality Assurance - 7 - 15.6%
Engineering - 18 - 40% (UI2.0, CW, DX11 as well as patches, patcher/launcher, fixing bugs/glitches, and database management)

So they have 40% of their guys focusing on what people actually give 2 shits about, part time. They need to rethink their resource allocation big time.

"I think its pretty troubling when a backyard decoration comes out swinging harder against Nazis than the President of the United States." Stephen Colbert
eldaec
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10371


Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 05:27:42 AM

Maybe.

Like it or not, it's the content that drives sales. And sales keep the lights on.

"People will not assume that what they read on the internet is trustworthy or that it carries any particular ­assurance or accuracy" - Lord Leveson
"Hyperbole is a cancer" - Lakov Sanite
Shannow
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3362


Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 08:54:48 AM

 Facepalm

Someone liked something? Who the fuzzy fuck was this heretic? You don't come to this website and enjoy something. Fuck that. ~ The Walrus
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 38280

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and other troops you control.


WWW
Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 03:43:22 PM

Maybe.

Like it or not, it's the content that drives sales. And sales keep the lights on.

This. They have the most people working on what makes them money. It's makes perfect business sense.

It makes me glad I decided to stop playing this game months ago. It also makes me glad that I have never given them one penny and don't plan to until Community Warfare is released and then ONLY if it actually is more than dots on a map that flip colors.

Falconeer
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10133

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


WWW
Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 04:21:09 PM

You definitely saved yourself a lot of frustration. And who knows, a year from now you could even wake up one morning and realize that, oh, there's a cool MechWarrior game out there (finally, eventually). Nice.

eldaec
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10371


Reply #13 on: December 18, 2013, 03:21:52 AM

It's a cool mechwarrior game today, so long as you view it as an occaisional fps booty call, just don't listen to the promises or start to believe you are in a relationship.

It isn't a mmorpg.

"People will not assume that what they read on the internet is trustworthy or that it carries any particular ­assurance or accuracy" - Lord Leveson
"Hyperbole is a cancer" - Lakov Sanite
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 38280

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and other troops you control.


WWW
Reply #14 on: December 18, 2013, 10:13:44 AM

The problem with the booty call analogy is that for the game to be more than a 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am' kind of game requires some delving into the meta game of both proper mech construction as well as proper mech picking. Free mechs are shit (or has that changed?). Getting enough points together to build your own mech takes grinding or spending money - and then you still have to delve into the meta game to figure out why you are getting cored 90 seconds into the match. And let's not forget that the UI for mech building actively works against you by being obtuse and generally shitty.

The gameplay has always been decent, but it is seriously not a casual player's game - which is why I can't give it booty call status.

satael
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2282


Reply #15 on: December 18, 2013, 10:32:39 AM

With a system like ghost heat in the game I wouldn't call it casual friendly  why so serious?
Samprimary
Contributor
Posts: 3649


Reply #16 on: December 18, 2013, 05:25:37 PM

when a company is saying "It's been a year of peaks and valleys" they're saying that because they're in a valley and they've lost a lot of faith with the community
Harlequin101
Terracotta Army
Posts: 5


Reply #17 on: December 19, 2013, 02:27:28 AM

While I love this game due to being able to play it 10 min here and there, some of the stuff just dont make sense.

Example;

I love the Raven mech, played it with the tabletop game, whatever computer games that included it and so on.
Well, I got myself a Raven-3L played around thinking electronic warfare would be niffty (hint; as a solo pug player, its not) and invested in a 4+ mil engine for it since I was planning to grind up to master skills for the chassi.

Grind done! Time to get the next version (Raven-4X) and reconfig the hell out of it! Here we go, Jumpjets....sweet, now lets jut put in that engine so we can run and jump like crazy and..... the engine do not fit?! But its the same bloody chassi! Same weight! WTF?

Apparently you cant just put in any old stuff into the same type of mech, oh no! Its based on some muddled "original engine x  age of your boots  / the star positions in relation to your old house" type of math. So a Raven-3L can use a XL 275 engine (if I remember correctly) but the Raven-4X due to having a weaker engine in original outfit can only have a XL 245... so please buy another engine for 4 mil kktxh!

Another example;

The order which you put in your missile launchers affect HOW they fire (all missiles or 2 at a time). The super fun thing is that if you placed them wrong the first time the game "remembers" that so you have to manualy switch their position in the chassi every time you log in, and not even then its sure that it works. You might actualy have to SELL all the launchers then buy them in the correct order...

Things like this keeps hitting you in the face over and over as you play. While I get that you can read up on the game, some of this crap is just pointless and annoying. I get limitations when it comes to hardpoints and free slots... but engines?

Its a fun FPS for 10 min fights, it has "potential (tm)" that it will never live up to but its fun for what it is. Well managed it could have been a great game with a large playerbase, but I doubt that will happen considering the clown-shoe level of competence they have handled it with since beta.
Mr Creed
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2


Reply #18 on: December 19, 2013, 04:51:18 AM

While I love this game due to being able to play it 10 min here and there, some of the stuff just dont make sense.

Example;

I love the Raven mech, played it with the tabletop game, whatever computer games that included it and so on.
Well, I got myself a Raven-3L played around thinking electronic warfare would be niffty (hint; as a solo pug player, its not) and invested in a 4+ mil engine for it since I was planning to grind up to master skills for the chassi.

Grind done! Time to get the next version (Raven-4X) and reconfig the hell out of it! Here we go, Jumpjets....sweet, now lets jut put in that engine so we can run and jump like crazy and..... the engine do not fit?! But its the same bloody chassi! Same weight! WTF?

Apparently you cant just put in any old stuff into the same type of mech, oh no! Its based on some muddled "original engine x  age of your boots  / the star positions in relation to your old house" type of math. So a Raven-3L can use a XL 275 engine (if I remember correctly) but the Raven-4X due to having a weaker engine in original outfit can only have a XL 245... so please buy another engine for 4 mil kktxh!

Another example;

The order which you put in your missile launchers affect HOW they fire (all missiles or 2 at a time). The super fun thing is that if you placed them wrong the first time the game "remembers" that so you have to manualy switch their position in the chassi every time you log in, and not even then its sure that it works. You might actualy have to SELL all the launchers then buy them in the correct order...

Things like this keeps hitting you in the face over and over as you play. While I get that you can read up on the game, some of this crap is just pointless and annoying. I get limitations when it comes to hardpoints and free slots... but engines?

Its a fun FPS for 10 min fights, it has "potential (tm)" that it will never live up to but its fun for what it is. Well managed it could have been a great game with a large playerbase, but I doubt that will happen considering the clown-shoe level of competence they have handled it with since beta.

Some of the things you mention are intended, but the shitty UI makes it less then obvious to anyone who doesnt research alot about the game. That plus general incompetence, although in light of recent rumors maybe this was never more then a cash grab.
satael
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2282


Reply #19 on: December 19, 2013, 06:07:18 AM

The "sad" thing is that MWO is (in my opinion) a good FPS and it's just some things like pinpoint damage and ghost heat that are really hurting it when it comes to actual gameplay.

The meta (like community warfare or rather the lack of it) game and everything leading to the match is still pretty terrible though (but hopefully fixable)
Ironwood
Terracotta Army
Posts: 26746


Reply #20 on: December 19, 2013, 06:11:15 AM

Some of us said at the start that not having a cone of fire was going to kill the game.

And it would have been so easy to do.

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
Merusk
Terracotta Army
Posts: 27447

Badge Whore


Reply #21 on: December 19, 2013, 07:05:14 AM


Some of the things you mention are intended, but the shitty UI makes it less then obvious to anyone who doesnt research alot about the game. That plus general incompetence, although in light of recent rumors maybe this was never more then a cash grab.

Eh? What recent rumors?

The past cannot be changed. The future is yet within your power.
Falconeer
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10133

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


WWW
Reply #22 on: December 19, 2013, 07:35:55 AM

Yeah, what rumors? At this point I wouldn't believe them as I know for a fact that there's a lot of people who just want to punish PGI and wouldn't mind spreading around rumors that can hurt the company. This is not to say that I trust PGI either, at all. Recently (November) they sealed a renewal deal with Microsoft for the MechWarrior license until 2018. The previous one was supposed to end in 2015 and I am sure they faced some uncertain days while trying to figure out if the investment was going to forcibly crush and burn with the expiration of the license, and for all I know that is what caused the company to go underwater in November, holding their breath over the new deal signing. But other than fuckin gold 'mechs, what else is new?

Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  PC/Console Gaming  |  MechWarrior Online  |  Topic: "State of the Inner Sphere" update by Russ Bullock (December 2013)  
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.10 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC